Game of the Week: Stephens County and Rabun County Preview

This Friday, The Class A Division 1 No. 3 Ranked Wildcats of Rabun County will travel to Toccoa to face the 3A No. 7 ranked Stephens County Indians. The game will see the first ranked matchup between the schools since the 1958 season. Though they are only separated by 20 miles, the teams have only met 11 times. Five of those games have been since 2016, where the Wildcats have been dominant, beating the Indians in all five matchups. The 2022 meating nearly saw the streak end. With Stephens County leading 7-6 late in the fourth quarter, Rabun County quarterback Keegan Stover crashed into the end zone for a touchdown lifting the Wildcats past Stephens County 14-7

The Indians come into the matchup following a 2022 season that saw them win their first region title since the 2007 season, finish 9-3 and make the second round of the playoffs. Week one saw Stephens county escape rival Habersham Central 31-29, taking their only lead of the game on a 31 yard field goal in the game’s final seconds. Game one answered many of the questions about Stephens County’s offense after losing their top two receivers and starting quarterback, with Tripp Underwood stepping up to replace 2022 QB Ben Stowe, and Jasec Smith slotted in as the replacement for the departed Cameron Lacy.

The Wildcats on the other hand come into the battle with Stephens County as one of the titans of Single A Division-1, winning their ninth-straight region title in 2022 and making the quarterfinals or better for the eighth-straight season. Rabun County enters week two after a much less dramatic 45-20 win over Haralson County. First-year starting quarterback Ty Truelove showed why FBS teams were looking at him before starting a single game. The 2026 QB threw for over 200 yards and four touchdowns while adding another score on the ground. Cincinnati commit Willie Goodwyn was predictably Truelove’s favorite target in week one, catching five passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns while Paul Picciotti proved to be a second dynamic wide receiver, catching three passes for 65 yards and a touchdown.

For both teams, the key to come away from Friday night with a win lies on the defensive side of the ball. For Stephens County, the defense must find a way to  slow down the Wildcat explosive spread passing game. On the other hand, Rabun County must stop the Indian’s balanced pro style offense. No matter the outcome, another chapter will be written in this exciting and burgeoning mountain rivalry.



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